Author: Abigail Roux
Series: Sidewinder #3
Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Cut & Run by Abigail Roux was my first M/M book and I fell in love. Since then I have read a nice of bunch of books of that genre (let’s call it that). Getting a book by Abigail in my hands is always special. I love her characters and the fast paced stories with plenty of action. That’s why she is one of my favourites out there. That’s why it saddens me to say that this last book is quite disappointing…
Nick is recovering from his injuries with the help of Kelly. During that time, he decides to go through Eli’s box of mementos to see what his deceased friend and teammate left for him. Among many things, there were a bunch of letters with instructions for Nick and the rest of Sidewinder. Those letters described some kind of road trip with rules and activities to do as a group. When Eli died, Sidewinder felt broken… so he is trying to fix it from beyond the grave.
It’s a cute plot, if I’m being honest. I thought it was a clever way to reunite the members of Sidewinder (plus Zane!!). A first necessary step before all hell breaking loose and having to deal with it as a team. That was what I thought. I would have taken anything: a murder, a kidnap, a crazy treasure hunt, a weird conspiracy, a cult… Anything!! But what the reader gets is a bunch of big muscular guys crying all over the USA geography. Over and over again. I know the trip is emotional. I get that. But it’s emotional for them. They knew Elias. We, readers, do not. So you may call me a cold bastard, but I didn’t feel anything with all those moments that ended in tears. I was more like Zane, an awkward spectator who wanted to see the end of it as soon as possible.
Where is the action and danger I always link with these characters? I feel robbed. This is not the kind of story I expect when I read a book based on the Cut & Run universe. OK, now that’s out of my chest. But, if I don’t get that… does it mean the romance is mindblowing at least? WRONG!! The conflicts between Nick and Kelly were a pain to read. Kelly’s behaviour is all over the wrong places: insecurity, jelousy, self-righteousness… So, when they were not crying they were yelling at each other. Over and over again. I’m sorry, but Abigail in this book more than conflict creates a really unhealthy relationship. They are unable to communicate. They resolve everything with sex and swallow the rest… After this book, I’m incapable of believing in their love story.
I could also rant about the rules of Eli’s trip. I will keep it simple: what a cheap trick to force even more conflict… And what the hell was all that talk about Eli’s ghost and paranormal activities with phone apps? If it was meant as a joke I didn’t laugh at all. I was pretty scared of all the paranormal shenanigans going further than that…
Fortunately, this book is bearable thanks to some characters like Ty and Zane. There were several parts of it were Zane’s actions have the focus and those are pretty enjoyable. Maybe because he is not one of the Sidewinders and as a reader I had that in common with him. He was like my ally during the book… Weird. I usually don’t feel the need of having back-up…
There is also a nice bomb about Nick’s life almost at the end of the book. It gives me hope that the next book and the ones beyond that are going to have at least some action. Abigail is good at the emotional stuff, but not if that is the whole deal of the book. She is the greatest when she mixes action, romance, humor and emotions. I wish with all my heart that this is not the last book by her that I’m going to read. I mean, she hasn’t published anything the last three years… That’s not normal at all for a Romance author. I hope everything is fine!